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To Act or Not to Act, That Is the Question: Informed Consent in a Criminal Perspective

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Abstract Some years ago the doctor was seen as the one who “knows better”, and it was absolutely unconceivable that the patient could refuse the suggested treatment or even ask any questions about it. Differently, nowadays doctors face demands to keep their patients informed and can even be sued when they act without patient knowledge and consent. On the patient’s side this new paradigm does not necessarily legitimate euthanasia — still criminally forbidden in most parts of the world — but allows some kind of personal power over body, health and life, materialized in advance directives. On the doctor’s side, it entails a change in the list of good medical practices, imposing the doctrine of informed consent and the prohibition of dysthanasia.

Affiliations: 1: Coimbra Faculty of Law Vieira de Almeida e Associados Portugal


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